January

  1. A judge rules that the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) “Clean Halls” program is unconstitutional.
  2. President Barack Obama signs the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, intended to prevent the “fiscal cliff.”
  3. Weeks after the tragic mass shooting in Sandy Hook, Conn., during which 26 people were killed, including children, school districts across the nation consider arming teachers with guns.
  4. Harlem’s famed Lenox Lounge announces plans to reopen at a new location on Lenox Avenue.
  5. Elected officials push for early voting in New York.
  6. Raphael Ward, 16, is murdered over a $600 Marmot coat in the Lower East Side.
  7. Nearly 300 Black and Latino firefighters retake the FDNY’s entrance exam thanks to a ruling that found the test to be discriminatory.
  8. The Black AIDS Institute names Dr. Neil Lowe as its new chairman.
  9. The Black sorority Delta Sigma Theta Inc. celebrates its centennial anniversary.
  10. Well-known funeral director George Benta of Benta’s Funeral Home passes at age 91.
  11. New York state passes the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act. The new law bans possession of high-capacity magazines and requires a state registry for assault-class weapons and background checks.
  12. The Amalgamated Transit Union, which consists of school bus drivers, begins its strike, leaving thousands of parents scrambling to figure out how they will transport their children to and from school.
  13. The nation experiences a flu epidemic, with New York taking a major hit. Over 19,000 cases are reported.
  14. A rash of shootings plague Brooklyn, with one of the victims being a 2-year-old.
  15. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly defends the use of stop-and-frisk, stating that the tool is necessary in curbing violence.
  16. Muslims rally against racial profiling by the NYPD.
  17. State Sen. Eric Adams announces his run for Brooklyn borough president.
  18. The city’s Department of Education (DOE) announces it will close 17 schools due to low performance.
  19. The third anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti is marked.
  20. The inauguration for Obama’s second term takes place. It falls on the same day as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  21. Rev. Jesse Jackson hosts his 16th annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit.
  22. State Sen. Shirley Huntley pleads guilty to stealing more than $87,000 from a sham nonprofit.
  23. Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton is murdered in Chicago while standing with friends in the park. The teen is killed a week after performing at Obama’s inauguration. First lady Michelle Obama attends Pendleton’s funeral.

February

  1. Black History Month kicks off with the theme “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.
  2. Obama replaces Hillary Clinton with John Kerry as secretary of state.
  3. Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch dies at age 88.
  4. Medgar Evers College President Dr. William Pollard steps down.
  5. As temperatures get cold, those still affected by Hurricane Sandy report not having any heat.
  6. The family of Trayvon Martin celebrates what would have been his 18th birthday.
  7. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announces that it will consider leasing community space and playgrounds for developers to build luxury high-rise apartments.
  8. Obama delivers his State of the Union address, highlighting the need to put Americans to work.
  9. Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address in Harlem at City College.
  10. The city marks 100 days since Hurricane Sandy with the receipt of much-needed recovery funds by the federal government.
  11. Rep. Gregory Meeks reports that 1,000 people in his district are still without power.
  12. Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation due to health issues. He is the first pontiff in 600 years to do so.
  13. Former Black Los Angeles police officer and New York native Christopher Dorner is charged with the murder of a police officer and the attempted murder of three other officers. He later dies by suicide during a standoff.
  14. Jazz great Donald Byrd dies at age 80.
  15. A grand jury fails to indict airport detective Hassan Hamdy, who shot unarmed National Guardsman Noel Polanco in Queens.
  16. Rep. Charles Rangel introduces a bill that would bring back the draft and make it co-ed.
  17. Harry Belafonte receives the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the civil rights organization’s highest honor.
  18. The Amalgamated Transit Union ends its strike.
  19. The State University of New York (SUNY) shuts down Long Island College Hospital, which has 2,000 employees.
  20. Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind comes under fire when a photo of him in blackface at a Purim party surfaces.
  21. The world marks one year since the killing of Black, unarmed 17-year-old Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman. Martin’s parents come to the city for a vigil held in Union Square attended by hundreds.
  22. The National Urban League announces plans to relocate its national headquarters to a new building on 125th Street in Harlem.
  23. A statue of Rosa Parks is unveiled at the U.S. Capitol. It’s the first statue of an Afcan-American woman in the National Statuary Hall.
  24. The organization 100 Black Men Inc. marks 50 years.

March

  1. The MTA implements fare changes that include the increase of weekly subway passes to $30.
  2. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez dies at age 58.
  3. As the mayoral race gets underway, Democratic candidates Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Bill Thompson begin making the rounds during their campaigns.
  4. Vy Higginson’s musical “Mama, I Want to Sing” celebrates 30 seasons.
  5. Kimani Gray, 16, is shot 11 times by two undercover police officers in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Officers claim the teen had a gun, while witnesses say he did not.
  6. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is voted in by the papal conclave under the name Francis as the 266th pope.
  7. Corrupt former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  8. The family of the late Gil Noble announces the formation of the Gil Noble Foundation with the goal of managing the famed journalist’s archives.
  9. The Floyd v. the City of New York trial begins to determine the constitutionality and fate of stop-and-frisk.
  10. The son of FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano, Joseph, resigns after posting racially charged comments on Twitter about Blacks, Jews and the poor.
  11. Bob Teague, one of the city’s first Black television journalists, dies at age 84.

April

  1. State Sen. Malcolm Smith and five other people are arrested by the FBI on charges of fraud for allegedly attempting to rig the 2013 New York City mayoral election.
  2. Philip Banks is named chief of police, making him the highest-ranking Black officer in the NYPD.
  3. The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network hosts its 15th annual National Convention, with Attorney General Eric Holder speaking at the event.
  4. “Motown: The Musical” premieres on Broadway to rave reviews.
  5. The NYPD rounds up 63 gang members in East Harlem responsible for more than three murders and 30 shootings.
  6. The “Central Park Five” mark the 24th anniversary of the attack for which they were wrongfully convicted as the community rallies for reparations for the group.
  7. Common Core standardized tests are implemented, leading public school parents to mobilize and boycott.
  8. Dr. Lorraine E. Hale, co-founder of the Hale House Center, passes at age 86.
  9. Bombs go off at the Boston Marathon, leaving three people dead and 260 injured.
  10. The culprits are brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan Tsarnaev is killed by police while Dzhokar Tsarnaev is taken into custody.

May

  1. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy reaches the six-month mark, and some communities are still not getting the relief they need from FEMA, the Red Cross and NYCHA.
  2. SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the parent company of Long Island College Hospital, withdraws the plan to close the hospital.
  3. Patients at Harlem Hospital report a shortage of basic supplies, which the hospital denies.State Sen. John Sampson is indicted on nine counts, including embezzlement.
  4. The spire is installed on One World Trade Center, making it the tallest building in the United States at 1,776 feet.
  5. The FBI and the state of New Jersey double the reward for information leading to Assata Shakur’s arrest to $2 million.
  6. Singer Lauryn Hill is sentenced to three months in prison for tax evasion.
  7. Chris Kelly, a member of rap duo Kris Kross, dies at age 34 after battling with drug addiction.
  8. A devastating tornado kills 24 people and wounds over 300 in Moore, Okla
  9. Later, an outbreak of tornadoes affects the Great Plains, particularly Oklahoma and Kansas.
  10. Around 76 tornadoes are reported in the event, including the widest tornado ever recorded, reported near El Reno, Okla., at 2.6 miles in width. A total of 10 are confirmed dead.
  11. Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, is found beaten and dies from his injuries in Mexico City at age 28.
  12. A judge decides to toss out the indictment of NYPD officer Richard Haste, who was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of unarmed Black 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.
  13. Former disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner enters the mayoral race.
  14. Assemblyman Vito Lopez resigns amid sexual harassment complaints.
  15. Three women missing (Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus) for more than a decade are found alive in Cleveland, Ohio, while a man, Ariel Castro, is charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
  16. President Barack Obama serves as the commencement speaker at Morehouse College.
  17. The trial against George Zimmerman, who is charged with killing Trayvon Martin, begins in Florida.
  18. Educator and activist Jitu Weusi passes away.
  19. After 10 weeks, Floyd v. City of New York, the case determining the legality of stop-and-frisk, comes to an end.

June

  1. As summer rolls in, the city experiences 24 shootings in one weekend, leaving six dead.
  2. Citing unfair work practices, the Legal Services Staff Association union, the city’s legal workers, go on strike.
  3. Sen. Frank Lautenberg from New Jersey dies at age 89.
  4. It’s a historic night for Black actors at the Tony Awards, as Billy Porter, Cicley Tyson, Courtney B. Vance and Patina Miller take home awards.
  5. Civil rights attorney Chokwe Lumumba is elected mayor of Jackson, Miss.
  6. Chaka Khan is inducted to the Apollo Theater’s Walk of Fame.
  7. The historically Black Saint Paul’s College announces that it will close due to financial issues.
  8. An all-female jury consisting of one woman of color is placed in the trial against George Zimmerman.
  9. The Eagle Academy opens a school in Harlem.
  10. In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court strikes down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  11. Section 4 had required states with a history of discrimination to get permission from the federal government to change their election procedures in any way.
  12. The Supreme Court sends Affirmative Action to a lower court to determine its fate.
  13. Former South African president and civil rights icon Nelson Mandela is hospitalized for a recurring lung problem.
  14. Dr. Rudy Crew is named the new president of Medgar Evers College.